TIght briefs turn me on

This article was posted on Thursday, July 31st, 2014


Just like most things in life; we get out what we put in. A good brief is the catalyst for sound and focused creative thinking; a bad brief is the catalyst for wasted hours and money.

Here is our advice on how to write a good brief.

What is a brief?

A creative brief is an industry term used to describe the detailed instructions for work required from an agency or creative team.

What must a brief cover?

What, why, who and how.

What: Company details, date of brief, deadline date and the specific project / campaign title
Why: What is the objective of the project / campaign? The more specific the better; what are the desired outcomes, ROI and by when.
Who: Who is the target market and what do we know about them. Where possible, give more than demographics i.e. gender, age, LSM profile etc. What are some generally accepted lifestyle choices, what are their media preferences, how do they make decisions, what are their biggest influencers, to what and who are they loyal and add some history of how the same target market has responded to previous initiatives.
How: Detail the support for the campaign; budget available, operational and / or distribution support, other stakeholders etc.

Extra room for added comfort

With all the necessities covered, here are some tips on what to add to your brief in order to give the agency / creative team room to work.

Supply relevant background info on the brand, the business, the target market and competitors. Treat the agency or creative team as if they know nothing; don’t take for granted that they have the same insight and access to information as you do; in most cases you are not the only client they work with, in which case their studio is often working on a myriad campaigns at the same time.

Examples of previous creative work done and feedback on such, also helps to identify what has and what has not worked in the past. It also shows what exists that can be utilised again such as images etc. this all helps to reduce costs and maximise the available budget.

Because we are often dealing in the realms of subjectivity; footnotes on the preferences of the decision makers are useful, albeit unwelcome creative parameters; often limiting the creativity, but certainly saving time and money. For example ‘I hate the colour red’, ‘we’ve had a bad experience with X publication and won’t ever consider supporting it again’. The opposite can be equally effective ‘we love Twitter, ‘we have credit at X printers’ etc.

Size does count

Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to briefs; the creative kind… less is more! Superfluous words, references, supporting docs etc. clutter the minds and fail to add value in the creative process. Carefully selected information that focuses the creative process rather than confuses it provides just the right amount of free reign and guidance.

Not too tight

Tight is sexy, but not too tight please. Don’t dictate the creative process; if all you need is a yes-sir, no-sir creative solution to your predetermined concept – ask a design agency. Strategic creative agencies succeed because they are able to harness the creative power of carefully selected team members and deliver a solution that is strategically aligned to the campaign objectives.

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